It's hard to say who's worse: Kamil Solomon, the guest speaker at Enloe High School who tried to save a few souls when he handed out the pamphlets "Jesus Not Muhammad Part 1" and "Do Not Marry a Muslim Part 1," or Robert Escamilla, the Enloe teacher who invited Solomon to speak to his class. Or maybe it's the Enloe High School administrators, who have long tolerated Escamilla's overt proselytizing to students and characterized Solomon's evangelizing as a freedom of speech issue. Solomon, the Egyptian born leader of the Kamil International Ministries Organization, lectured Escamilla's class on Feb. 15. Students told reporters that Solomon encouraged them to convert to Christianity that day and discouraged the women in the class from marrying Muslims. The literature he distributed calls Muhammad a "criminal," "Demon possessed," "Inspired by Satan" and "Prejudiced." After public pressure from the ACLU and the Council on American Islamic Relations, school administrators suspended Escamilla with pay.
More than 1,700 active duty, reserve and National Guard troops have contacted their Congressional representatives to protest the war in Iraq—including 52 who call North Carolina home. In a movement that has gained momentum in the past few weeks, service members have signed an Appeal for Redress, a form of protest permitted by military rules, at www.appealforredress.org. The appeal reads: "As a patriotic American proud to serve the nation in uniform, I respectfully urge my political leaders in Congress to support the prompt withdrawal of all American military forces and bases from Iraq. Staying in Iraq will not work and is not worth the price. It is time for U.S. troops to come home." The protest, sponsored by Iraq Veterans Against the War, Veterans for Peace and Military Families Speak Out, was started in October by two active-duty service members. Recent coverage on 60 Minutes and in The New York Times has helped boost support. The name, military status and service branch of signees are sent to members of Congress, but aren't released to anyone else.
U.S. Department of Justice officials agreed to investigate several unsolved murders from the civil rights era. The good folks at the Southern Poverty Law Center, an internationally known civil rights law firm and advocacy group, dug through their documents and came up with a list of 76 men and women around the country who died under circumstances suggesting they were the victims of racially motivated violence. To its credit, the DOJ is looking into many of the cases, three of them in North Carolina. The N.C. cases couldn't be colder—the documents turned over by SPLC don't offer much in the way of evidence—but deserve to be looked into since they weren't looked into years ago.